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Warning issued to marauding town centre bike gang

A marauding gang of youth bikers is being warned away from central Middlesbrough.

The two-wheeled tearaways converged on the town centre at the weekend, blocking roads and pavements, crowding pedestrianised areas and intimidating shoppers.

Now Middlesbrough Council's Street Wardens and Neighbourhood Safety Officers are working closely with Cleveland Police to identify and deter individuals.

Sixteen of those involved have now been identified, and investigations are continuing.

Schools will be visited and warning letters issued to parents in a drive to stamp out the gatherings which are believed to be organised via social media.

And this Friday (January 10), Cleveland Police will put a 48-hour dispersal order in place to break up any further incidents.

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: "Cycling's great, and I'd encourage all young people to get out and about on two wheels.

"But that doesn't mean swamping the town centre mob-handed, blocking roads and intimidating law-abiding shoppers and residents.

"It's just thuggery, and we won't tolerate it.

"We already know who many of them are, and their parents will be hearing from us and the police.

"I'd also urge parents to make sure they know where their kids are."

The 48-hour dispersal order will be in place for 48 hours from 4pm on Friday (January 10).

Anyone engaging in anti-social behaviour will be asked to move on and not return for a period of 48 hours. Those who breach the order by returning to the area can be arrested.

Inspector Darren Birkett of Cleveland Police said: "The order is being put in place as a result of an increase in anti-social behaviour involving large groups of youths and anti-social cycling in Middlesbrough town centre.

"The order means that officers can disperse large groups of youths who may be behaving in an anti-social behaviour manner, or causing alarm or distress to members of the public."